This comes from Sara.
I have been wanting to ask this for a little while. I love the idea of a "babymoon," waiting after the birth for some time to both go out into the world and also to welcome visitors. I think the people who would have the hardest time understanding this are my parents and in-laws. I have never seen you reference a post-birth visit by grandparents, and I wondered if you would tell us how that goes? Are they still around? Do you talk to them, do they understand, do they fight you on visiting and what they "deserve as grandparents?" Obviously I am projecting some of my own worries, but I hope you understand and would be willing to post or email.
First, my parents are over 1000 miles away, so that's not really an issue. Like with Margaret, because of airfares, they won't see Isaac until his naming and blessing later this month. He'll be over 3 months, just like Margaret was at her blessing.
McKay's parents are 2 hours away, so that's a little closer.
During the babymoon, I am ok with walks- and the Friday after his birth, we walked to the Rose Garden for newborn pictures. McKay's parents came to see him at 7 days old. I'm ok with visitors, it's just that I didn't want to go out. Unfortunately, I let myself be talked into going to the local ice cream parlor that day as well. I shouldn't have done that. We walked down to the restaurant, which was very busy and there was no real comfortable place to wait to be seated. Then after ice cream, we had to walk up the murderous hills to our apartment. That combined with the rose garden was a bad idea and set my lochia bleeding back a week. Yes. It was like I just gave birth and I was 1 week postpartum.
Because of that, I held very true for the rest of the babymoon to staying inside, even at 3 weeks when I was feeling much better. By 3 weeks postpartum with Margaret, I still had a heavy feeling in my abdomen when I wore her in the wrap- like my uterus was sad and tired. With Isaac, I didn't have any of that, though I did get to trade that misery for other kinds, so it wasn't rainbows and puppies either.
Now, I know I could have said that I didn't want to go to the ice cream parlor. Really, I should have said that, but I did feel like they drove 2 hours to see us and I felt compelled to be a good hostess. I shouldn't have. Really. Stick to your guns.
If I have another baby, I will have more specific babymoon guidelines for myself:
- Walks with the baby are ok. I know when I'm doing it too much, so don't do it too much.
- Visitors when I feel better are ok. I do not have to leave the house, and if they are being overbearing, use McKay to nicely direct them to something that needs to be done or out the door.
- Only necessary errands after I feel well. This does not mean groceries. McKay can do those. Necessary errands include registering for the birth certificate because both baby and mommy need to be there. That's actually the only errand I can imagine being necessary.
- LLL. I really love LLL. I didn't go to the meeting when he was 4 days old, but I did go a month later when I was still technically in my babymoon. But I love LLL and it was a month later and babies are very welcome and other moms are understanding about the postpartum time.
I did go back to church at 5 weeks this time (36 days postpartum), but it was the Sunday when Relief Society and priesthood lessons were combined, so I had McKay with me the entire 3 hours. If they had been separate, I would have waited another week.
As for help in dealing with visitors, use your husband. Talk with him about how important it is to you and have him be the one turning people away. Postpartum can be a very fragile time and you might feel like you have to be a good hostess like I did.
Also, I haven't done a review of the new edition of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, but I like that at the end they have tear out pages for quick reference for breastfeeding and postpartum issues. One of the handouts is a page to put on your door that says that you aren't taking visitors- to ward off drop-bys. There's also a tear out page for chores that you can put out for visitors to do so that they are useful instead of in your way. And there's a tear out sheet for grandparents about how important the breastfeeding relationship is and that we have more studies and scientific knowledge about breastfeeding, so if you are doing things they aren't familiar with (like nursing on cue instead of waiting 3 hours), to trust your judgment. While you don't have to use their exact tear out sheets, making up your own list of chores or "please come by after this date: ______" sign might be a good idea.
Any readers have suggestions? Have you had to ward off well-meaning friends and family postpartum?
Oh- and to my in-laws who read this: I did enjoy seeing you. I just wish there was a way to eat ice cream without bleeding for an extra week!
Monday, October 04, 2010
This comes from Sara.